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Valley of the Shadow: After the Turmoil, My Heart Cries No More Hardcover – 1 Feb 1997

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x96b382e8) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96750200) out of 5 stars For Helfert and others World War II did not end on V-E Day. 2 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The years of World War II were terrible indeed. During those seven years, millions of innocent people (and some not so innocent) died. Yet, with the arrival of V-E Day, many assumed that the years of death and destruction of innocent people in Europe were over. Strangely, for many, the suffering was only beginning. Beginning in 1945, Europe saw the largest forced migration of its population in history as 11,700,000 people were evicted from their homes where their families had lived for up to 700 years. Of this number, 2,100,000 died en route. Among those deported were 3,000,000 Sudetenlanders, who were expelled from Czechoslovakia and sent to Germany after experiencing many attrocities, and the death of 267,000 of them. The story of these Sudetenlanders is told in Erich Anton Helfert's autobiography, "Valley of the Shadow." If you have any interest in the history of post-World War II Europe, you may enjoy (although that is probably not the right word) Erich Helfert's book. It reads like a novel, but one is warned in the beginning that everything described happened as described. I commend it to you.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96750668) out of 5 stars Tell us your lifes' story ! 19 Mar. 2000
By Dr. Norman W. Fahrer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel very greatful to the author for telling his families story to us. My mother was a child when her family was given the choice to either leave or die. Her parents avoided talking about the terrible journey on foot from the Sudentenland to Germany. The few fragments I know from their tragedy resonate with the story E. A. Helfert has documented in his sensitive and enlighting book. He has experienced the terrors caused by mens irresistible urge of indiscriminate revenge and his story is a warning from history. Yet his story is also one of hope and faith in the good qualities of human mankind. And when these qualities manage to surface in the midst of terror and dispair then they appear like loving miracles. I wished that more people of his generation would write down their lifes' story, so the younger generation can break this cycle of revenge and make miracles.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96750614) out of 5 stars Important service to humanity 30 Aug. 2003
By karpaten - Published on
Format: Hardcover
My mother's family are ethnic Germans from Slovakia, and the book touched me personally. For the overall framework, check Alfred de Zayas. By the way, the Prague University was closed for students after riots in 1940 for the time of the war, not because of anti-Slav prejudice (for Hitler, Czechs were half-German anyway, and indeed they are, and most Germans from the Sudetenland and Slovakia are heavily intermarried with Slavs as well), the Czech Protectorate government under pres. Hacha collaborated beautifully (the Czech part was not treated like Poland, but like France under Vichy), esp. the Vlajka, the Czech fascist movement under general Radola Gajda, there was a Czech armed force of 8,000 men, virtually no German soldiers in the countryside, and the food situation was far superior to Germany itself after 1943.
Edvard Benes, to justify his blood-orgies against civilians, spoke of 50,000 Czech victims of the war, including Czech workers killed by Allied bombs while working in Germany. He did not claim "300.000." For 250,000 of these were Roma (kept in a camp in Lety created by the Czech government before the occupation in March 1939, and staffed throughout the war by Czech personnel), and Jews, many of whom did not feel "Czech" but as ethnic Jews, Magyar or German, and witnessed this in the 1930 Census. Indeed, Jews who survived the Nazi camps and returned were expelled as well if in 1930 they had (the census asked among else about nationality, which in Europe means ethnicity), declared themselves of Magyar or German ethnicity. Seems somewhat ghoulish to suddenly use these Germans and Magyars (Hungarians) of Jewish faith as excuse for the butchering of the native German population.
Not enough Americans know about these terrible events, and the author has done a great service in writing this for an English-speaking audience.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x967509b0) out of 5 stars Telling the rest of the story!! 13 Aug. 2002
By Christian Lehrer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
According to the estimates of the Goverment of Germany and many mainstream historians such as William Shirer at least 12 million Germans and an untold number of Poles, Ukranians, Russians and citizens of the Baltic states were expelled from their homes in the wake of World War II. Almost 3.3 million Germans were expelled from the Sudatenland, the rest being expelled principaly from East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia. This land was carved up by Joseph Stalin. He took part for himself including Northern East Prussia and the city of Koenigsberg, today Kaliningrad. The rest was given to Poland as partial compensation for lands taken by Stalin when he invaded Poland in September 1939, after making a secret pact with Hitler. These lands were than "awarded" to Stalin by the victorious Allies in 1945. Most of the German civilian casualties in these expulsions were women, children and the elderly. There was neither plebecite nor self-determination for any of the peoples involved. The loftly principles of Great Britian and France, going to war to ensure "Poland's Territorial integrity" as well as the aims of the Atlantic Charter signed by the U.S. were discarded. Hitler's methods of ethnic cleansing and forced deportations of civilians that were condemned, justly so, as war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials were embraced by his enemies after the war. The history of the brutal acts of Hitler's regime has been told and hopefully will never be forgotten. This book "Valley of the Shadow" attempts to shed light on events that today are seldom discussed and carefully avoided in many academic circles as well as some history books in the west. My father was born in the German Sudatenland in the town of Graslitz, (than under Austria) in 1918. His people were denied self-determination promised by the treaty of Versailles and by fiat forced to live as second-class citizens in a new multi-ethnic state, Czechoslovakia, created by the Allied powers after World War I. The swift and final dissolution and separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia ten years ago is certainly evidence that the Germans were not the only group unwilling to live under Czech rule. The president of the Czech Republic, Vaclev Havel, has called on his people to critically examine their own history. He, amid a storm a criticism from some of his people, among others, has apologized for the expulsions, calling them a war crime. It is time for those who read books that painfully recount tragic events to decide whether they themselves truly reject Hitler's methods or embrace them selectively. I hope this book engenders discussion and thought provoking debate as well as further study of World war II and its terrible toll on the Sudaten Germans along with millions of others who suffered and died at the hands of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Christian Anton Lehrer, M.A.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96750638) out of 5 stars Shame on the Czechs. 14 Jun. 2010
By Marilyn A. Courchaine - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a country that offered token resistance, where is the pride in attacking and brutally murdering women and children after the war ended?
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